Highly Illogical Behaviour by John Corey Whaley
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him.
Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But is ambition alone enough to get her in?
Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa steps into his world, along with her charming boyfriend, Clark, and soon the three form an unexpected bond. But, as Lisa learns more about Sol and he and Clark grow closer and closer, the walls they’ve built around themselves start to collapse and their friendships threaten to do the same.
I was graciously provided a copy in exchange for review by Allen & Unwin. This is no way affects my thoughts though!
Star Trek references are the way to my heart so it’s no surprise that this book, full of all that is nerdy and wonderful, has earned a permanent spot as one of my favourite contemporaries. Highly Illogical Behaviour will draw you in from the very first page, every chapter so full of emotion and thought that it will leave you hanging on to every word. This is only furthered by our three main characters – Solomon, Lisa and Clark – whose perspectives and growing relationships were so interesting to read about.
The story is split between Lisa and Solomon’s perspectives and it was done fantastically by the author. Solomon has been dealing with agoraphobia for three years, after a severe anxiety attack left him feeling much safer at home. I absolutely adored his personality – he was basically 90% Star Trek references and witty comments – and so he really made this book wonderful for me. However, he was still a teenage boy with his fair share of insecurities, coming out to his parents being one of them and trying to get people to treat him the same as everyone else another. I seriously adored the chapters from Sol’s perspectives and he quickly has become one of my favourite contemporary characters of all time.
I must admit though, I did not like Lisa for most of the book. She was, in my personal opinion, a very selfish character and to see her use Solomon the way she did was really aggravating. However, the mindset that she had (that of trying to “fix” Solomon) is one that a lot of people in our society have and so her character was, in a way, really representative of this. ALSO CLARK! I was fully expecting him to be the typical Stuck Up Jock of a boyfriend but instead he was as cute of a geek as Solomon and seeing them bond and seeing their relationship grow was one of the highlights of this book.
This book really is character-driven and so the main focus was placed on the connections that grow between Solomon, Lisa and Clark and it didn’t disappoint – their relationships were multilayered and complicated and so unravelling them was fascinating. Whilst this book does show how beneficial a little friendship, a little hope and a proper support systems can be, it is not one that utilises the “love cures all” trope that is so often seen in YA contemporaries surrounding mental illness. It actually turns the trope on its head and in doing so, ends up being a great exploration of mental illness and the stigmas society holds against it.
This book isn’t a hard-hitting look into mental illness. Whilst it sheds some light on serious misconceptions, it is more just a look into the little world that Solomon has built for himself and the people who come into it. It’s a coming of age story as much as it is anything else and I think it excelled on that front. Whilst Lisa’s character did diminish the story for me a little, it was such a strong read overall and I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a fast, light read to power through one afternoon!
Until next time,